Monday, December 31, 2012

A Year In Photos...April 2012

Good afternoon, friends! I can't believe that it's already the last day of December...2012 has been filled with so much! This year I've skated more than ever, done more in 4H, and of course started this blog! I want to thank each and everyone of you who come by and read my posts. I really love writing this blog and I hope that I am able to give some encouragement to to be proud of your individuality and express it!

Time to look at pictures from April 2012! I kept busy in April with passing my first USFSA test (pre-preliminary free skate, pre-preliminary MIF, and preliminary MIF, if you're interested), my skating club's spring show, and of course Easter! Need to catch up? Go here: January, February, and March

Here we are visiting family and friends from Alaska and Missouri...

I just couldn't resist adding this picture of some delicious homemade rolls.... :D

Us on Easter! We had almost every family member from both sides at our house.

Fun conversations with cousins during dinner.

 My cousin, Ena, and I.....

My cousin, Abby, and I making kissy faces....

And then us making another weird face....

Spring skating show! Our Theater On Ice group....

And our group number.....

Tell me honestly, now; is anyone getting tired of the photos?

Hoping you all have a very happy New Year! Enjoy your festivities with friends and families. :)

Thanks for reading! :)

Note: Photos owned by myself.

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Year In Photos.....March 2012

I've been having a very nice couple of days lately. :) Mainly cleaning my room super thoroughly (it needed it so bad!), re-organizing the upstairs bathroom, and today, skating! Truthfully, I've been being rather lazy lately...all that ends on Monday when we start school up again!

We're moving right along to March in our A Year In Photos series! Need to catch up? Go here: January, February. 

Just a quick little note.....I usually do the seasonal tags to whatever season I'm writing the post in, but seeing this has pictures in the springtime, it seemed awkward to post it in Winter. So it will be under both Spring and Winter tags. 

March was super busy! We had County Activities Day for 4H, and I attended National 4H Conference in Washington DC!

This is a picture of Deanna, Me, and Ross in front of the Chevy Chase 4H Conference Center!

I couldn't believe how beautiful some of the buildings were...

Library of Congress.....

The Capitol....

A lovely fan at the Museum of American History.

We made it in time for the cherry blossoms!

Me and my best friend, Deanna, in front of the library of Congress! 

Hope you enjoyed! Be back later with April! 

Thanks for reading! :)

Note: Photos taken by myself and Mr. Lougee.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Year In Photos....February 2012

It's SNOWING! Yay! Of all things, we had a green Christmas this year....which left me rather upset. But now the weather's making it up to us and it is coming down heavily! Can't lie; I'm rather excited. :)

Time for installment two of my A Year In Photos series! Need to catch up? Go here: January.

February was filled with 4H Favorite Foods Festival, and the performances of our play!

After our last performance of State Fair. We have Eileen, Maggie, Lexie, Me, Caleb, AJ, Joe, Turner, and Tessa. 

Caleb and Bailey in the middle of their song.

Dylan and Eileen. Such a funny scene!

Me, Meagan, and Ashley. We were playing ladies who were awaiting the awards for mincemeat. :)

In the middle of the largest musical number....Iowa. Here we have Turner and Caleb doing their heel clicks.

And the bows! Here we have Lexie, Ashley, Me, and Meagan.

Our thank-yous to the music and lights operators! I just love this picture....

Thanks for reading! :)

Note: All pictures taken by Mrs. Jennings.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Year In Photos....January 2012

Happy day-after-Christmas, everyone! I hope everyone had a wonderful day and season, and are moving happily towards 2013. Which brings me to.....

A new post series! With the new year on the way, I thought I'd start a new post series to recap what 2012 was like for me! I'm going to do a series of photos from each month, and probably carry this on throughout January. I hope everyone enjoys!  

January 2012 was packed with skating, state level 4H interviews for National 4H Conference and National 4H Congress, a skating competition, and, of course, rehearsals for State Fair!

One of the moms took publicity shots for the play! Here's the one with me....I don't even remember my hair being that short! To my left is my friend Ashley. 

Lexie, Maggie, and Meaghan...showgirls!

Here's Caleb playing Patt, Bailey playing Margy, and Chris playing Harry.

And here is Caleb with his character's side-kick, played by Mike.

Here is my brother, AJ, (Chief of Police) and his 'daughter', (Violet) played by Eileen.

And State Fair's first family! We have Dylan (playing Wayne), Ashley (playing Mrs. Frake), Turner (playing Mr. Frake), and Bailey, (playing Margy). 

Here we have Tessa (playing Elanor) with Dylan. 

Hope everyone enjoyed! I'll be back later with February's. What do you think: too many pictures? Leave a comment!

Photos taken by Mrs. Jennings.

Thanks for reading! :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Of Birthdays and Winter Time

Have you ever had a day, when things were just right? Where you felt content, cozy, and cared for? Where everything fit easily in place and just made sense? This is one of those days.

Today I turned 16. We had sweet little get together with all my little cousins (except one, who was sick today) and my aunt. After church we came home to a yummy meal of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, and fruit salad. While Mum was finishing preparing it, we older cousins switched between helping out and playing with the little ones. Oatmeal Chocolate Cake with Fudge Frosting followed, and then present time. :)

My grandmother's gift was wrapped in the Barbie birthday bag I've had ever since I was born. She always puts her present in there and I just love seeing that bag every year. From my aunt and little cousins came an adorable card with the sweetest notes inside. On the back they taped a gas card, for when I get my license. :) Then came the figurine from my Mum...the 16th of the 'Growing Up Birthday Girls' porcelain figures. I have all the others, and she's the last of the set. Then came the present I'd been guessing at since the night before; a large rectangular something or other hidden underneath a thick blanket. I pulled back the blanket to see a gorgeous dark stained hope chest. As I lifted the lid, my Dad told me that it was the same one that had been sitting in my parent's bedroom ever since I could remember; just refinished and fixed up to the point that I hadn't even recognized it! The chest is 60 years old; my paternal grandfather originally gave it to my grandmother for an engagement present. I'm so happy that I'll be able to continue it's legacy. Inside Mum and Dad had packed away little treasures; green kitchen mixing bowls and knick knacks for that green kitchen I'm always dreaming about, my paternal grandmother's framed wedding picture, pictures of my baptism this past summer, a yellow tea pot, and 4 crystal dishes Mum found at a thrift store, with the same design as my grandmother's set! I almost cried when I opened it, it was just so beautiful.

Soon the cousins headed home and I did chores at the barn. Just as I had hoped, it was snowing. Just a dusting, but still. I went on a long walk and just marveled at the wintertime. This is definitely my favorite season, everything about it is just so simply and ruggidly beautiful. I'm sitting in my grandmother's apartment now, the snow still falling. The only light is from the fireplace and her Christmas tree. 

Perhaps not many girls think that meatloaf, snow, little cousins, and a wool skirt make the perfect birthday, but it certainly has made my day happy. Every age seems like such a landmark....and then you actually are that age for a year and find out what it really means. I'm looking forward to 16, just like I looked forward to 9, and 12, and 15. 

Hope everyone is staying warm, and enjoying their preparations for the holidays! 

Thanks for reading and Happy Christmas!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Thoughts on Thankfulness: Turning Thoughts Into Actions

Hello Everyone! Now, I had originally planned this to go up several days after my Thoughts On Thankfulness: Counting My Blessings post, but things got in the way and I had to postpone it until now. Even though it definitely is rather Thanksgiving themed, though, I decided to go ahead and publish it as we should really be thankful year round, and not just during the holidays. 

While it's very good (and certainly important) to feel thankful, we must remember that expressing our thanks is a huge part of life. Expressing thanks has many rewards; it can brighten someone's day, encourage acts of kindness in others, and teach us not to take our blessings for granted.

So, how does one go about turning our thankful thoughts into acts of kindness? Here, I've put together a quick list of thoughtful gestures you can use to show the people you love that you care. These are especially sweet as we approach the hectic time of Christmas. :)

1. Give a Surprise.

If you owe a lot to someone, why not surprise them with a sweet gesture or even a small gift? It doesn't have to be anything big....bake their favorite cookies, buy a copy of that new book they've been eyeing, or leave them a sweet note somewhere. Just do something.

2. Write a Thank You Letter.

I know this sounds painfully obvious, but unfortunately many people have gotten out of the habit of writing thank you notes. I know this is something I've been trying to be better at! Don't limit your thank yous just to gifts, either.....always send a note for recommendation letters, to teachers or coaches, and for kind gestures.

3. Help Out.

Pitch in around the house! Don't limit yourself to just your regular chores or the things you're asked to do; fold laundry while watching TV, bring your books up to your room as you walk by, or unload the sink while you're digging for your favorite coffee mug. Honestly, it doesn't take that much time out of your day....just implement it as you move around the house. Your family will certainly notice, and appreciate, the extra help. 

So, those were my thoughts! Do you have any special ways you like to express your thankfulness, or have you been thanked in a special way?

Thanks for reading! :)

"For The Betterment of Her Mind'

"For the betterment of her mind, through extensive reading." Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice

Well, December's here and Christmas is on it's way! Unfortunately we haven't had much time to get the house mum and I were down in Georgia for National 4H Congress (so much fun!) the week after Thanksgiving, then once we got back it was all enjoying a surprise visit from my great aunt and uncle, preparing for a Christmas Ice Show, and doing last minute preparations for our 4H club's craft fair...whew! So, needless to say, not much has been done yet in terms of getting the house all festive. :( Mum and I have made plans for decorating on Saturday, though, which is very exciting! 

Today I wanted to share with you an idea for a reading list....or actually reading challenge, I suppose...that I've been mulling over since early fall. This year for lit class, we've been doing a 1/2 year of Shakespeare. Soon, though, we'll be switching to  creative writing. That will give me lots more free time with my reading (something I'm really excited about!). I don't want to just quit reading classics for the rest of the year,  though. So, I've been putting together a list of books that  I've never read but are still considered by many to be classics. My plan is to read one a month right up until September of 2013. After I read it, I'll do a quick write up post about it, and maybe even start some discussion if anyone else has read it. Speaking of which, if anyone wants to join in and read a couple books, you're more than welcome to! I would love to talk about our different opinions on the writing. :)

This 'reading challenge' is going to be very loose and fun.....the only requirement is that I read one a month. I'll pick the books depending on my mood at the time (and their availability!). Once I start reading, I'm going to allow myself to take as much time as I need on a certain book...some are quite long, after all! :)

Aside from this list, I'm also still going to do a lot of my free reading, so keep your eyes out for additional book posts other than this 'For the Betterment of Her Mind' series. 

So without further ado, here is the list (in no particular order):

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
To Serve Man by Damon Knight
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
A Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

I'm really excited to start this! Technically I'm going to begin in January.....our last lit read is this week, but I'd really like to relax and have fun reading Christmas stories for the rest of December. :) I'm thinking of doing How To Serve Man or Pride and Prejudice first, though...any suggestions? 

If any of you are interested in doing this list with me, please comment! 

Thanks for Reading! All be back soon with lots of pictures from the past couple of days, and hopefully some Christmas stuff! :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thoughts on Thankfulness: Counting My Blessings

I love Thanksgiving. It's definitely one of my top favorite holidays. The season, seeing family and friends, all the cooking and baking beforehand, and the relaxing chatter after the meal all make it the perfect day. So in honor of Thanksgiving and the entire holiday season, I've put together a list of some of the things I'm most thankful for. 

A lovely painting of a New England church in the fall.

1. My Church Family
I've been attending our church my entire life, and my parents went for years before me. The other members there are really my family! They are always supportive and loving, and they constantly encourage me to not only become a better christian, but to excel at everything I do. In many ways, my church family has helped me to fill the space of grandparents I never got to know. I am so thankful for their involvement and influence on my life. 

Some of my skating friends, Caroline, Victoria, Me, Angela, and Victoria at our skating club's spring show. 
2. Being Able to Pursue My Passion
I am a firm believer that everyone has something special that motivates them, makes them feel wonderful, and gets them excited. I'm so thankful that I'm fortunate enough to pursue my passion of figure skating. I love that it challenges me every time I'm on the ice. The athletic grace, theatrical interpretation, and sheer power really can't be found anywhere else. Skating always puts a smile on my face, and I'm so thankful that I'm able to do what I love. 

Books and tea...the perfect afternoon. 
3. Great Books
I love reading, always have. In my freshman year, though, I definitely began to have a better understanding of literature. I learned that even if you didn't really like the book, you can still learn to recognize and appreciate the symbolism, character development, or overall writing style of the author. I certainly 'learned how to read' in that I now dive further into the book than I used to. That being said, a good old Agatha Christie mystery never fails to make my day! I am so thankful for the plethora of books that are available to me. 

Me and one of my best friends, Deanna, outside of the Library of Congress during National 4H Conference.
4. All The Opportunities I've Been Given
I am so thankful for all the unique opportunities I've been given through skating, 4H, homeschooling, and everything else. Things like National 4H Conference, US Figure Skating test sessions, being in a great lit class, hearing so much music, working with animals, and countless other opportunities have helped me develop into a well-rounded person. I just hope I can help other kids take advantage of these opportunities as well. 

Some of us SC girls goofing around at our county's Awards Night (we were wearing our Hogwarts uniforms! :P)

5. The Amazing County I Live In
Yay, S. County 4Hers! Love you guys! We stick together through thick and thin, are always encouraging to one another, and really are each other's best friends. I'm so happy to know all of you and do 4H with you guys! We may be slightly nerdy, but hey, that's one of the many reasons that make us awesome. :)

There's so much more I could write! What are YOU thankful for this holiday season? Happy preparing-for-Thanksgiving, everyone! 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Shoes! :)

Hello, all! Just wanted to do a quick post today about some amazing shoes I found...

These shoes, called '23 Skidoo', are available through American Duchess! Both a historically accurate online shoe shop and a wonderful blog on costuming that always has something inspiring! 

The 23 Skidoo comes in two different types, a brown/white colorway as well as a white/white colorway. The all white is especially can customize your own with leather paint!

For more info, check this out. 

Thanks for reading! :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

New Blog on the Block!

Hello Everybody! I hope you're all having a wonderful November 1.

Deanna and I in front of the Library of Congress

I just found out that my lovely friend, Deanna, has started her own blog! Here's how she described it:
"I'm a wanna-be writer who is more than a little obsessed with the amazing fandoms of Star Wars, Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Sanctuary, and Sherlock. This blog is to practice my writing, and have some fun sharing my favorite things. Hope everyone enjoys it!"

I just visited her blog and she already has tons of cool stuff! So, hop on over to The Lady Geek and check it out! 

Thanks for reading! :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Reading List: November 2012

"A room without books is like a body without a soul."-Marcus Tullius Cicero

Happy Halloween, everyone! Just a quick update about Hurricane Sandy....we got the wind and the rain, but other than that our area fared really well! We did loose power, though, and are still out....hopefully it will come on soon! Really, though, it's not too big of a problem...we collected enough water to flush the toilets and feed the animals, and we have a generator so we can run the fridge and one other thing at a time...usually the radio or a lamp. :)

This fall is just flying by. :) I honor of the chilly weather and approaching holiday season, I've selected two books that are perfect to curl up with near the fireplace!

A Coal Miner's Bride, The Diary of Anetka Kaminska by Susan Campbell Bartolettie: A part of the Dear America  series, this book, written in diary form, follows the story of 13 year old Aanetka Kaminska. Though just 13 years old, she is forced to leave her native Poland because her father has promised her in marriage to a coal miner in Pennsylvania. Accompanied by her brother and friend, she sets out to form a new life amidst the dirty and dangerous existence that was Lattimer, Pennsylvania in 1896. She faces many struggles, and the story is one that leaves you with a feeling of determination and respect for immigrants. Definitely my favorite of the Dear America books. 
The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer: 14 year old Enola Eudoria Hedasa Holmes, younger sister to Sherlock Holmes, sets out to become her own detective. Very used to being alone (afterall, Enola spelled backwards is alone), she runs away after her mother's disappearance  and her elder brother, Mycroft's, plans to put her in a boarding school. Although independant enough to take care of herself, Enola holds on tight to her last links to her mother; a handmade watercolor book of the language of flowers, and also a small book of ciphers. With only her smarts and wits to help her, she sets off to London and begins unraveling the mystery of the missing marquess...while still struggling with her own questions. The first book in the Enola Holmes series, Nancy Springer does a great job in bringing new dimensions to the long loved Sherlock Holmes mysteries, while still staying true to the original characters and plots. More information on Nancy Springer and her other books can be found here. 

That's it for today! Happy Halloween, Happy November-Eve, and best wishes to you as you work through the effects of Sandy!

Thanks for reading! :D

P.S. I am also linking up to The Glamorous Housewife. Check it out!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Reading List: October 2012

First off, I have to apologize for the lateness of this post: Sorry folks! I've been very busy this month, but I'm hoping to get back into blogging! 

One more note until we get into the good stuff. :) In the past, I've given you five books in each reading list. Although I've really enjoyed providing that much variety, it's been very hard to keep up with. So, from now on I'm going to include anywhere from 1-5 books in each list. Sorry for any inconvenience!

1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte: I really wanted to suggest a book for this month that went along with Haloween season. I considered doing Frankenstein or The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, but, well, they seemed sort of obvious choices. So, I selected one of my favorites (and my mother's first-choice read) Jane Eyre! Written by Charlotte Bronte in 1847 (and published on October 16, so just in time for All Hallows Eve!), Jane Eyre has become not only a classic book, but a beloved heroine, as well. Orphaned at a young age, Jane is sent to Lowood, a cold and miserable school. After graduating and then teaching there, Jane moves on to become a governess at Thornfield Hall. After a rather unexpected meeting with her employer, Mr. Rochester, Jane finds herself falling in love with him. Time goes on, and many circumstances arise that are unexpected, brutally honest, and thrilling. One of my favorite aspects of this Gothic novel is the character of Jane. She has her faults, and recognizes them. She is an honest character that knows herself, is intelligent, and hardworking. After reading this novel, I'm sure you'll realize why I chose it as a Halloween pick!

Happy reading, everybody! Be sure to comment if you read (or have read!) the book!

Have a nice day! :D

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale....

Anybody recognize the title? It's from Gilligan's Island, of course!

My brother and I have collected all three seasons from Christmas gifts (thanks Mum and Dad!) and it's definitely one of our favorite shows!

One of my favorite episodes is in Season 2, where the castaways put on a musical version of Hamlet! Now that I'm actually reading it, of course, I've had they're songs stuck in my head every time I come across a familiar line.... :D Way to much FUN! 

If you're like me, and this is the kind of thing that really makes your day, then please enjoy these snappy musical numbers! :D

To Be Or Not To Be?

Thanks for reading!:D

Have a wonderful Sunday.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Autumn Charm

Hello Everybody! Sorry for falling off the face of the earth for awhile there....I was getting pretty good at always posting something new, wasn't I? Well, school, skating, and LIFE seem to be keeping me pretty busy, which has meant putting the blog on the back burner. 

Here in lovely New Hampshire, all the leaves are turning brilliant colors, the air has a positive chill to it, and inside we have a lovely fire going in the wood-stove. Autumn has arrived! With that thought in mind, I thought I'd share some photos I've been saving in my 'Wardrobe Inspiration' file that highlight every girl's autumn staple: Sweaters!

I just love the double breasted one on the bottom left! And the hat in the outfit above it is so charming.

I believe this picture is from that new movie about Marilyn Monroe....I just love this outfit. Golden rod sweater and gray plaid cigarette pants? Score!

Who doesn't want a stripey sweater with adorable buttons?

I just love how the collar matches her hat.....jump over to Casey's Elegant Musings to see how to make a detachable collar!

I just love all the texture in this outfit! a pleated skirt with a tucked in, cable-knit sweater!

I know, I know....I haven't gotten the October Reading List out yet! Hopefully that will be happening soon. :)

Thanks for reading! :)